Verdasco’s parting shot

2013 AEGON International, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, News, Players

Fernando Verdasco quarter-finalsFernando Verdasco, narrowly defeated by his Spanish team-mate Feliciano Lopez, has blasted the light drizzle and slippery conditions for bowing out of the 2013 AEGON International.

The Spanish star fumed: “I tried my best with the conditions how they were, but the conditions were not right to play even before the match.

“The ball was slippery and I played well, but the conditions were better for him. The court was dangerous for both of us, we had to be careful.

“I noticed that at the end of the first set there was soft rain there, but they just wanted me to play no matter what.

“If I had said that I don’t want to play then I would get fined. I wanted to go from the court because I didn’t feel good. I wasn’t in the situation to say that I’ll go, but I would have liked to have been in the semi-finals.

“His sliced backhand bounced even lower because of the conditions, making it very difficult to attack him.

“But if someone gets hurt then who is responsible? Not the ATP Tour for the conditions of the court. I just kept playing and trying.

“I thought to myself, if I win I win. But if I lose then I’ll just go to Wimbledon because I know I am playing well.”

 

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Grass act Lopez enjoys Centre stage

Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, News, Players

Feliciano Lopez quarter-finalsFeliciano Lopez raced into the semi-finals after rolling past Spanish Davis Cup team-mate Fernando Verdasco 6-4 7-6 in Thursday’s opening Centre Court clash – their inaugural encounter on grass.

But it was grass court expert Lopez who outfoxed the former top 10 ace with a clinical display of power tennis and deft volleys to be in first Eastbourne semi-final thanks to a clinical display in their first meeting since 2009.

The world no39 couldn’t be kept at bay, reverting to his aggressive serve and volley style that worked to great effect against baseliner Verdasco and has earn him three Wimbledon quarter-final berths.

It was sweet revenge for Lopez to end a run of three defeats on the bounce to Verdasco, all on hard courts.

Lopez said:

“I’m very happy with my performance and looking forward to tomorrow’s semi-final.”

The left hander had an excellent run at Queen’s last week, winning five matches on the grass courts in London – including three qualifying ties – before bowing out to at runner-up Marin Cilic, the Croatian giant.

Lopez delivered the knockout blows to Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen and Argentine Juan Monaco to set up an all Spanish contest that entertained the Centre Court with such contrasting styles of play and tactics.

Verdasco stunned no6 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine in his opening match and then had few problems in dismissing compatriot Albert Ramos.

But Verdasco was narrowly dispatched by Lopez in a tight contest, losing his service game just once to concede the first set and then edged out 8-6 in what proved to be the decisive tiebreak.

Lopez has yet to drop a set at Devonshire Park, and if he can continue to mix up his shots and play as exquisitely as he has performed all week then not only is he in with a shot of taking the Eastbourne crown but also of making an impact at next week’s Wimbledon.

 

Dark horse Lopez gallops past Monaco

2013 AEGON International, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Juan MONACO, Players
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Feliciano LopezFeliciano Lopez, the obvious dark horse in the draw, dismantled Argentine Juan Monaco in straight sets on Court 1 on Wednesday courtesy of his trademark thunderous serves.
The Spanish star outshone the no4 seed in all departments to secure a quarter-final berth in 70 minutes courtesy of a 6-4 6-4 passage.
The tie was initially an attrition of powerful serves, with both dominating play with booming serves. But Lopez drew first blood match to snatch the opening set.
With the lead Lopez began to mix his tactics, racing to take control at the net and putting away some incredible volleys to unnerve the Argentinian. This worked out to his advantage with two breaks of serve sealing success, initially in the opening game.
But Monaco broke back in the sixth game, but was unable to match the sizzling Lopez who is surely a potential champion. Lopez also defeated Monaco on grass at the 2012 London Olympics.

Another Spaniard made the quarter-finals, Fernando Verdasco losing only four of his first service points in annihilating compatriot Albert Ramos in the straight sets on Wednesday.

The opening match on Court 2 proved to be a disappointment in terms of a contest, with a comprehensive 6-4 6-0 victory.

Ecstatic Edmund breaks duck

2013 AEGON International, Fabio FOGNINI, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Players

By Xavier Harley-Rudd

Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund registered his inaugural ATP Tour victory in style on Eastbourne’s Centre Court with a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 win over qualifier Kenny de Schepper of France on Monday.

The British wildcard, who lost in his first ATP circuit main draw match at Queen’s in London last week, only conceded nine points on his serve to leave big server De Schepper shellshocked by the 18-year-old.

Edmund made a mockery of being world no.442 to overturn an opponent ranked 360 places above him and next faces no.2 seed Gilles Simon of France.

But Simon needs to be aware that the Australian-born teenager Edmund likes dealing with the French, following up his Junior French Open Boys Doubles success with a 64-minute success against a tired looking De Schepper.

And Edmund, who has been granted a wildcard for Wimbledon, is going to be a popular figure at Devonshire Park as he has pledged to donating half of his AEGON International his prize money this week to The Royal Marsden hospital in London.

Edmund, who moved to Yorkshire aged three, said: “I’ve trained hard after Queen’s and focusing on returning the ball, it worked out great.

“I’m just happy to get the win after being given a wildcard and this great opportunity to play here in Eastbourne.”

And there was another shock in the 1st Round, Ukraine’s no6 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov faltering 1-6 6-3 6-2 to tricky left hander Fernando Verdasco in 75 minutes.

The Spanish star made a dreadful start, but once he found his feet on grass – a surface that he has an impressive record on, except at SW19 – swept past Dolgopolov, conceding just five points on serve in the last two sets.

There were no such problems for the two Italian seeds, Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini, although they were both pushed to three sets.

Seppi, the 2011 champion and 2012 runner-up at Eastbourne, was slow off the blocks against French qualifier Guiliaume Rufin. But the no7 seed bounced back to record a 3-6 6-3 6-4 1st Round win in 107 minutes.

Fogini, a 2012 AEGON International quarter-finalist, narrowly lost the tiebreak 8-6 in the opening against Grega Zemlja, who defeated Edmund at Queen’s last week. But Fognini turned on the style to reel off the next two sets to see off the Slovenian 6-7 6-2 6-4.

American ace Ryan Harrison made it his fourth win at Devonshire Park in three days after delivering the knockout blow to France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu in a third set tiebreak 7-4.

The industrious 21-year-old qualifier gained revenge over Mathieu for last month’s reversal in Nice to collect his sixth main draw success of the season in just under two hours, winning  6-4 2-6 7-6 courtesy of 11 aces.

But James Blake, Harrison’s compatriot and fellow qualifier, was humbled 6-2 6-4 by Spaniard Albert Ramos.

Kohlschreiber can clinch crown

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Milos RAONIC, News, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Viktor TROICKI

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

aegon international 2013

2013 Men’s Draw

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE SCORES FROM EASTBOURNE

Philipp Kohlschreiber wins on grassMilos Raonic narrowly pipped Gilles Simon to the prestigious top seeding berth, but it is the no3 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber who appears to be the most probable player to win the 2013 AEGON International.

German ace Kohlschreiber made 20102 his breakthrough year, finishing in the world’s top for the first time since turning professional in 2011 and reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals following four opening round defeats in seven seasons at SW19 – on top of a victory on grass at Halle in Germany over Rafael Nadal.

His 2012 win-loss grass record of 9-3 speaks volumes, and being one of the four seeds – all within the world’s top 20 – to be gifted a bye into the 2nd Round should ease his way through the field.

However, this is the strongest ever set of players in the Men’s draw with the no8 seed of Italian Fabio Fognini ranked at world no31.

There are two mouthwatering 1st Round clashes to relish, Bernard Tomic against British wildcard James Ward and Jarkko Nieminen facing Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

bernard tomicTomic, a 2011 Wimbledon semi-finalist sensation as a tenacious teenager, has struggled ever since his father/coach John was involved in an alleged assault with his former practice partner at this year’s Madrid Masters.

The giant Australian fell in the 1st Round at Queen’s last week, which made it four ATP Tour defeats on the bounce. Yet his game is suited to fast surfaces and he has the ability to win this event if his confidence crisis doesn’t continue, which is seemingly due to his father’s coach accreditation ban by the ATP until October’s court hearing in Madrid.

British no2 Ward, who is playing in his fifth successive Eastbourne tournament and reached the 2010 quarter-finals, hovers just outside the world’s top 200 but produces his best on grass and in front of his home crowd.

The Londoner’s wildcard entry at Queen’s resulted in just the one match, beaten in three sets by Croatian Ivan Dodig. And wildcard Ward has a real shot at causing an upset if Tomic’s recent injury and personal circumstances take over from the natural ability that the Australian obviously possesses.

Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen tasted a 2nd Round reversal at Queen’s last week, one victory less than Lopez on the grass court in London.

Nieminen has picked up six wins in eight contests against Lopez, including their only grass court meeting – 2012 Wimbledon.

With totally different styles of play the result is in the balance, Nieminen is a firm favourite to progress and face no4 seed Monaco of Argentina although Lopez

Top Half

(1)Milos Raonic (CAN) bye
Denis Istomin (UZB) vs Ivan Dodig (CRO) [head-to-head1-0]
Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs Martin Klizan (SVK) [1-0]
Grega Zemlja (SLO) vs (8)Fabio Fognini (ITA) [1-2]
(4)Juan Monaco (ARG) bye
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [7-2]
Albert Ramos (ESP) vs (qualifier)James Blake (USA) [1-0]
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs (6)Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) [1-0]

MilosRaonicRaonic is aiming to recover from last week’s reversal to France’s Gael Monfils on grass in Germany. Not only has Monfils since withdrawn injured from Wimbledon, but the giant Canadian arguably produced some of his worse tennis in recent seasons.

With a new coach to guide him, Raonic needs to return to winning ways and utilise his array of weapons on fast surfaces.

If Raonic can dispatch the winner of Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin or Dodig, then he should have few problems in getting past no8 seed Fognini, Slovenian Grega Zemlja, Slovakian Martin Klizan or Serbian Viktor Troicki to book a semi-final berth.

Monaco has a much tougher task to progress. He faces the winner of the Lopez/Nieminen contest, and if successful would take on either Spaniard Albert Ramos, American qualifier James Blake, Spain’s Fernando Verdasco or Ukraine’s Alex Dolgopolov in a battle for a last four place.

Lopez is arguably one of the best grass court players in the draw, with three quarter-final appearances at Wimbledon. And SW19 was a happy hunting ground for the veteran with Monaco one his victims at the 2012 London Olympics.

Bottom Half

(7)Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs (q)Guiliame Rufin (FRA) [1-0]
Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) vs (q)Ryan Harrison (USA) [1-0]
Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Marinko Matosevic (AUS)
(3)Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bye
(5)Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Julien Benneteau (FRA) [1-2]
Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs (WC)James Ward (GBR)
(WC)Kyle Edmund (GBR) vs (q)Kerry de Schepper (FRA)
(2)Gilles Simon (FRA) bye

Simon, dethroned as the top seed by Raonic’s late wildcard entry, should ease into only his second quarter-final at Eastbourne as he has a strong chance against either British wildcard Kyle Edmund or a French qualifier Kerry de Schepper in the 2nd Round.

Kevin Anderson appears to stand in the way of Simon progressing to the semi-final stage. But the South African giant has to fend off France’s experienced Julian Benneteau in the 1st Round with the winner of Tomic/Ward next up.

Andreas Seppi, the only former Devonshire Park champion in the draw, should have few difficulties in reaching the quarter-finals. The Italian has French qualifier Guiliame Rufin in the 1st Round, the winner will play either France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu or American qualifier Ryan Harrison.

Kohlschreiber, a quarter-finalist at last week’s grass court event in Germany, has a 2nd Round clash against Australian Marinko Matosevic or Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek. And Kohlschreiber should soar to the semi-finals with ease.

Semi-Final Prediction
Raonic vs Lopez
Kohlschreiber vs Simon

Seeds

  1. Milos RAONIC (Canada)
  2. Gilles SIMON (France)
  3. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  4. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  5. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  6. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  7. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  8. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)

Simon snatches top billing

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Thomaz BELLUCCI, Viktor TROICKI

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

2013 entrants and seeds

gilles simon top seed 2013Gilles Simon, the 28-year-old from Nice, is the top seed as the highest ranked of the trio from the world’s top 20 ATP players due compete at the 2103 AEGON International.

Simon, who reached the dizzy heights of world no6 is nicknamed “Gilou” with his most significant success over Rafael Nadal in Madrid five years ago.

Although British fans will probably remember the current world no17 bowing out to Olympic champion Andy Murray at the 2013 Australian Open.

German Phillip Kohlschreiber (world no18) missed out on being seeded no1 and has the perfect all round game that is suited to grass, so is the most probable champion.

Argentinian Juan Monaco (world no20) is the no3 seed but is a clay court expert so is likely to find the adjustment from a gruelling season on a slower surface difficult to adjust to.

In form Kevin Anderson has been given the no4 seeding and the 6 foot 8 inch South African star will be a force to be reckoned with courtesy of his thundering serve and game suited to fast surfaces.

Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, a Devonshire Park regular, takes the no5 slot with former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi of Italy a dangerous opponent as no6 seed.

Seppi’s compatriot Fabio Fognini takes the no7 berth with French ace Julien Benneteau completing the eight seeds.

But the player that the seeds will be aiming to avoid will be Monaco-based Australian Bernard Tomic, who in 2011 became the first teenager since Boris Becker to reach the Men’s Singles semi-finals at Wimbledon.

Tomic stuttered out of the 2012 AEGON International in three sets to Fognini despite being the no4 seed and was booed off the Wimbledon courts following his destruction of the grass with his racquet after tasting defeat.

Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek will be another difficult opponent, and if compatriot Tomas Berdych – a top 10 player – has a shortlived experience at Queen’s in London then he will listen to whether his coach Ivan Ljubicic wants him to warm-up Wimbledon as a Devonshire Park wildcard.

Thomaz Belluci has withdrawn from the tournament, which isn’t the first time that the Brazilian has opted to skip the event.

Men’s Provisional Seeds

Seed

Men

Nation

1

Gilles SIMON  France

2

Phillip KOHLSCHREIBER  Germany

3

Juan MONACO  Argentina

4

Kevin ANDERSON  South Africa

5

Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV  Ukraine

6

Andreas SEPPI  Italy

7

Fabio FOGNINI  Italy

8

Julien BENNETEAU  France

The entrants confirmed are:

  1. Gilles SIMON (France)
  2. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  3. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  4. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  5. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  6. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  7. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)
  8. Julien BENNETEAU (France)
  9. Martin KLIZAN (Slovakia)
  10. Jarkko NIEMINEN (Finland)
  11. Viktor TROICKI (Serbia)
  12. Feliciano LOPEZ (Spain)
  13. Denis ISTOMIN (Uzbekistan)
  14. Radek STEPANEK (Czech Republic)
  15. Ivan DODIG (Croatia)
  16. Grega ZEMLJA (Slovenia)
  17. Bernard TOMIC (Australia)
  18. Fernando VERDASCO (Spain)

Men’s entrants

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, EXCLUSIVE, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Men's Singles, News, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Thomaz BELLUCCI, Viktor TROICKI

2013 entrants – exclusive

Title contender: Gilles Simon

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST ENTRANT NEWS

Men (ATP Tour) // Gilles Simon,the 28-year-old from Nice, is set to be the provisional top seed as the highest ranked of the eight from the world’s top 20 ATP players due compete at the 2103 AEGON International.

Simon, who reached the dizzy heights of world no6 is nicknamed Gilou with his most significant success over Rafael Nadal in Madrid five years ago. Although British fans will probably remember him bowing out to Olympic champion Andy Murray at the 2013 Australian Open.

Argentinian Juan Monaco and former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi of Italy make up the trio of top 20 players.

Yet there are five other aces who will also be vying to become the no1 seed at Eastbourne, namely Phillip Kohlschreiber, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Fabio Fognini, Kevin Anderson, Martin Klizan and Julien Benneteau.

The entrants confirmed are:

  1. Gilles SIMON (France)
  2. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  3. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  4. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  5. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  6. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)
  7. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  8. Martin KLIZAN (Slovakia)
  9. Julien BENNETEAU (France)
  10. Thomaz BELLUCCI (Brazil)
  11. Jarkko NIEMINEN (Finland)
  12. Viktor TROICKI (Serbia)
  13. Feliciano LOPEZ (Spain)
  14. Denis ISTOMIN (Uzbekistan)
  15. Radek STEPANEK (Czech Republic)
  16. Ivan DODIG (Croatia)
  17. Grega ZEMLJA (Slovenia)
  18. Bernard TOMIC (Australia)
  19. Fernando VERDASCO (Spain)

FERNANDO VERDASCO

2013 AEGON International, Fernando VERDASCO
Verdasco, FernandoVerdasco, Fernando
Birthplace:
Madrid, Spain
Residence
Madrid, Spain
Height
6’2″ (188 cm)
Weight
179 lbs (81 kg)
Plays
Left-handed
Turned Pro
2001
More information
More information

Born in Madrid on 15 November 1983, Fernando Verdasco started playing tennis with his father, José, aged four.

Just a few weeks after losing the final in Acapulco in 2004, he lifted his first ATP title in Valencia, a tournament in which he didn’t drop a single set. He continued to climb the rankings in the years that followed, but it wasn’t until 2008 in Umag that he won his second title. He also helped Spain beat Argentina in the 2008 Davis Cup by two points.

He finished his best ever season, 2009, by breaking into the ATP top 10 and qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals in London. He won another Davis Cup with Spain, defeating the Czech Republic, and picked up his third ATP World Tour title in New Haven.

But perhaps his most exceptional achievement that year was reaching the semi-finals in the Australian Open, where he lost out to Rafael Nadal after a marathon match. Before being eliminated from the Mutua Madrid Open in the quarter-finals, he climbed to world no7 in the ATP rankings.

In 2010 he won his fourth title in San José. In April of that same year, he finished as runner-up in the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 as Nadal was crowned champion, but he did still managed to send Novak Djokovic home in the semi-finals.

He notched his fifth title with the 2010 Barcelona crown but dropped down the rankings to no24 in 2011, after failing to win any singles titles.

Nonetheless, he did win another 2011 Davis Cup with Spain in Seville, beating Argentina yet again.

Verdasco also won a doubles title in Stockholm in 2004, alongside his close friend Feliciano López, who he has shared plenty of success with in the Davis Cup.